Recalibrating the Machine:
Restructuring College and University Systems to
Produce Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
One of the recent (though not new) developments in the areas of social justice, equity, and diversity is a call to address the issues and opportunities to that arise from these concepts in a systemic fashion. The Black Lives Matter movement, scholars of race, community organizations, and student activists all recognize that the perpetuation of oppression is embedded in the inner workings of institutions. This perspective posits that discrimination and inequities are a fundamental part of the system and structure of societal institutions. That is, institutions, very much like machines (Trevino, 2021), work in unison utilizing every “cog and gear” to produce products or outcomes that benefit members of some groups and are detrimental to others. The metaphor of machines is very applicable to colleges and universities given that much like machines, they produce a whole host of social and educational outcomes. In the case of social justice and equity, these systems or machines manufacture outcomes including racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism and other "isms" as well as the concomitant inequities and discrimination.
In the past, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work has focused on 1) securing greater access and support for marginalized communities and 2) educating majority group members (i.e., Whites, males, heterosexuals, able-bodied) about their role in perpetuating discrimination. Minimal attention has been directed at recalibrating or restructuring colleges and universities, the "machines" or systems, to produce positive outcomes for marginalized communities and ultimately, for all constituents.
One approach to addressing the systemic nature of discrimination was developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Known as Inclusive Excellence (IE), this theoretical framework (Milem, Chang, & Antonio, 2005) works toward the structural cultural systemic transformation of a college or university in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion. IE is a strategy for countering institutional “isms” by recalibrating or restructuring all university systems. To accomplish that goal, Inclusive Excellence calls for embedding diversity and inclusion into all systems and dimensions of a university and dispersing responsibility for diversity to everyone.
If you are interested in introducing to your campus awareness of the dynamics of systemic discrimination and the solutions offered by Inclusive Excellence, contact us to see about scheduling a workshop on those topics at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thelindgroup.com.
This workshop delves into the inner workings of systemic discrimination and how policies, procedures, processes, offices, departments, and other structural aspects of a college or university mete out systemic inequalities. Participants will understand the difference between individual prejudice and the mechanics of structural oppression. In addition, the presentation is solution-focused with plenty of examples on how to address the structural perpetuation of racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, another forms of discrimination. The workshop is one to one and a half hours in duration, but can be shortened for different needs and venues. The presentation is perfect for diversity councils/committees/taskforces, faculty/staff retreats, diversity symposiums, national conferences, and professional development (Human Resources) activities. The workshop is available in a virtual or in-person format.
Learning outcomes include an: 1) enhanced understanding of the difference between individual prejudice and the systemic nature of discrimination; 2) increased awareness of the structural and systemic mechanics of systemic oppression; 3) expanded knowledge of the role that polices, procedures, processes, initiatives, programs, and other dimensions of an institution have on the promotion of inequities; and 4) greater awareness of Inclusive Excellence, a systemic-focused approach to combating institutional oppression that impacts marginalized communities.
*Treviño, J. G. (2012). Dismantling the destructive machines in our lives: Creating inclusive work and campus environments. Campus Activities Programming, 44(7), 10-12.